Live with 5

My children, over the years, have generally driven cheap disposable domestics or might-as-well-be domestics, acquired at third hand; the epitome of such would be my daughter’s early-80s Ford Escort, Muff the Tragic Wagon, which the last time I saw it, some time around the turn of the century, had semi-inoperative turn signals. (The circuitry was functional, but the actual lever had fallen on the floor.)

Of late, though, they’ve tried to break out of that particular mold: a couple years ago, she splurged on a VW Jetta, and this week I am informed that my son has ditched a Buick in favor of a ten-year-old Bimmer.

Now what I know about BMWs would fit between pages 67 and 68 of the owner’s manual, but I am reasonably certain that Teutonic sleds of this sort do not take kindly to the sort of haphazard maintenance that these youngsters have been used to providing. (Same goes for the Jetta, really.) In case he drops some weird issue in my lap, though, I figure I’d better brush up on the E39 5-series.

Interestingly, the specs on his car and mine are almost identical, though the Bimmer of course is driven by the correct pair of wheels. And the time to get such a car, apparently, is after — not before — a Kansas City winter.


  1. Jeff Brokaw »

    19 February 2011 · 1:57 pm

    Winter tires on the rear-drive BMW would be a good idea, depending on how often he has to drive in snowy conditions. I’ve heard from multiple BMW owners here in the Chicago area that the car is awful in the snow.

    I guess maybe TCS helps, but there is no substitute for the right kind of rubber on the road. E.g., I have an Audi A4 with quattro and all-season tires — apparently, inferior in the snow, woulda been nice to know that before — and I’ve had better traction with any of my various FWD cars with winter tires (VWs, generally). It’s bizarre to be driving on snowy roads and you can feel the quattro pushing you right, then left, then right again, all without ever moving the wheel. Takes some getting used to, then it’s kinda fun!

  2. CGHill »

    19 February 2011 · 2:16 pm

    Winter tires are a definite boon in the snow; not even the fiercest-looking M&S poseurs can compete.

    Kansas City gets a bit more snow than we do, somewhere around 12-15 inches a year. (This year, of course, they got a lot more, but then so did we, and so did almost everyone else within shoveling distance of the Snow Belt.) Since he’s married with three kids, I think it’s safe to say he’ll be doing a fair amount of driving in the stuff.

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